It may take a few more examples in order to make this into a real theory, but I am developing a hypothesis that the party whose supporters chant “Four More Years” during an election campaign are destined to end up losing that campaign. Kim Campbell and her Conservatives did it in 1993 just before they were delivered the greatest humiliation in the history of Canadian politics: a government majority of 162 seats reduced to a meagre two. And now the Republicans for Bush are doing it, even as Kerry is starting to open up a lead. There are probably counterexamples, where the phrase was used and the party went on to win, but I can’t recall any.
I think the phrase “four more years” could hint at an arrogance, or be symptomatic of a sense of entitlement which signifies that the party in question has lost touch with the average people voting in the election. Certainly it’s a taunt to the other side that they are going to win, despite the fact that neither they, nor the other side, have a thing to do about it. It’s the voters who decide who gets to govern for four more years. For this and other reasons, the electorate is more than willing to give the boot when one or the other party forgets who’s in charge.
My mother-in-law, a staunch Iowa Democrat (you probably already knew that), read me over the phone today a new column by Molly Ivins. The article in question praised Canada and criticized Bush. The latter is not uncommon, especially from her, but the former doesn’t often happen in the American media. And speaking as a Canadian, despite how politically charged Molly’s message was, it was still nice to be referred to as “the best neighbor any country ever had”. Certainly it makes a change from Bill O’Reilly’s uninformed histrionics.
But one metaphor caught me. When commenting on the long-suffering nature of Canadians and their impression of the Bush Administration, Ms. Ivins expressed sympathy with us, saying that for us it “must be like living next door to the Simpsons.”
I got a good chuckle over that until Erin reminded me that this would make us the Flanders.
Looking for a blog with an urban Toronto bent? Check out Avenues, which covers everything one need want to know about Toronto urban issues and public transportation. There is a post defending the St. Clair right-of-way project, discussion gleaned from the Transit Toronto mailing list and a picture of one godawful eyesore.